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Salem College Considers Transgender Policy

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Campus Progress
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February 1, 2013

An undergraduate transgender student at the nation's oldest, historically all-female Salem College, a private college in North Carolina, is due to undergo his gender confirmation surgery in February—and Salem's administrators are unsure if they should maintain their 250-year-old tradition in the face of possible public outcry or a potential lawsuit. Under Title IX of the U.S. Education Amendments of 1972, it is illegal for schools to discriminate on the basis of gender however, religious schools are exempt from specific sections of the amendment. Salem College is still affiliated with the Moravian Church of America, qualifying for those religious exemptions. An article in Political Outcast details the email correspondence between a female alumna and Charles Blixt, the chairman of the board of trustees. In the email Blixt told the alumna that, "the board will not consider becoming a coed institution," adding "this is the oldest women’s college in the country, and we intend to remain so.” What does that mean for this transgender student? According to one report from a local Fox affiliate, Salem College is looking to develop a transgender policy, stating that other women’s colleges have implemented transgender policies and that it should consider one of its own. Salem College has declined, however, to release any statements regarding the specific policies the college may consider with no official timetable for the resolution.